In our classrooms we use the book, The Peace Rose, as an example of how children can resolve their own problem "using their words". The book is a simple, beautifully illustrated example of how two children may want something at the same time and hurt feelings are the result of arguing over it. Name calling may ensue or even the dreaded "I won't be your friend anymore", harsh words for a three year old to hear. Instead of resorting to tears and running to the teacher, children are taught to get the peace rose and talk about their feelings. "Susie" holds the rose in her hand, meaning it is her turn to talk, then hands the rose to "Billy" so he can have his turn to talk, uninterrupted. Most of the time holding the rose for one round is all it takes for the child to feel that their side has been heard, then they each place a hand on the rose and say "friends". Quite often we see hugs or hand shaking at the end of this display and the children return to their works.
Every classroom has a beautiful silk rose in a special place so the children know where to go when they have a dispute to settle, and the beauty of the rose is one of the attractions to this work. The more that children are allowed to settle disputes on their own, using words, the more freedom we are giving them to grow up in their world.
Submitted by: Cindy Shelley